Dr. Le Roy Walker passed away on Monday, April 23, 2012, at the age of 93. A man who helped build our sport, Dr. LeRoy Walker lead by example. The first African-American head Olympic coach for the 1976 Olympics.
I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Walker when he supported the US versus Africa Meet at Duke in the summer of 1994. Dr. Walker worked to help our sport, he will be sorely missed.
“LeRoy Walker was one of the giants of our sport,” noted one keen observer.
courtesy of USA Track & Field
National Track & Field Hall of Famer Dr. LeRoy Walker dies at age 93
INDIANAPOLIS – Dr. LeRoy Walker, the
first African-American Olympic coach of Team USA and first
African-American President of the U.S. Olympic Committee, died Monday at
the age of 93. Walker was inducted into the National Track & Field
Hall of Fame in 1983 and the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1987.
A pioneer in the sport of track and
field, Walker was the former longtime coach at North Carolina Central
University and served the sport as both a coach and an administrator. He
was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches
Association Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class in 1995,
served as President of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1992-96 and was
named the first President Emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee in
1996. He held a doctoral degree from New York
Walker began his career at North
Carolina Central in 1945 when he accepted a position as a football and
basketball coach. He then started a track and field program as
conditioning for his football and basketball players. He retired from
coaching in 1973 before serving as Vice Chancellor from 1974-83 and as
Chancellor from 1983-86.
During Walker’s run at North
Carolina Central, he coached athletes to 11 Olympic medals and sent
track and field athletes to every Olympic Games from 1956 until 1980. He
coached National Track & Field Hall of Famer Lee Calhoun to
consecutive Olympic gold medals in the 110-meter hurdles in 1956 and
1960. Walker coached a total of eight Olympians, 30 national champions
and 80 All Americans. In 1976 he became the first African American head
coach of the men’s U.S. Olympic team.
His involvement also included time
spent as chairman of the AAU men’s track & field committee (1973-76)
and the coordinator of coaching assignments for the AAU and TAC
(1973-80). He was the TAC president from 1984-88 and later served as
senior vice president for sport of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic
Walker is the author of three major
books surrounding track and field and physical fitness and became the
first African American president of the American Alliance for Health,
Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD).
A 1940 graduate of Benedict College,
Walker earned 11 letters in football, basketball and track and field
before earning a master’s degree at Columbia University in 1941.
Following graduation he served as department chairs of physical
education and recreation at Benedict and Bishop Colleges before moving
to Prairie View A&M University. Walker also worked as director of
the Army Specialized Training Program.
Walker has received 14 different
hall of fame inductions, which also includes the North Carolina Central
University Hall of Fame. He was the first African American to receive
the James J. Corbett Memorial Award (1993), the top honor granted by the
National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
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